Posts Tagged ‘Neglected War Memorials NYC’

The city’s most neglected war memorial might be this granite marker in the Bronx

March 6, 2023

You can barely walk through a New York City park or square without coming across some kind of war memorial, and I consider that a good thing.

Sturdy doughboy statues, proud eagle sculptures, sedate bronze plaques—these monuments don’t just pay homage to the dead but connect us to different eras in Gotham’s past. They remind us, even for a passing moment as you hurry to catch the bus, about the human toll of combat.

But occasionally you encounter a war memorial that feels not just forgotten but almost actively neglected, so battered by the elements over time that it’s become more of a receptacle for litter, not a source of reflection.

That’s the case with this granite, five-foot marker outside the Hunts Point 6 train station in the Bronx. Intended to honor the Hunts Point natives who lost their lives in World War I, it sits on a sidewalk island once known as Crames Square, for a local resident named Charles Crames who was killed in the Great War.

“To the men of Hunts Point who gave their lives in the World War 1914-1918,” a simple inscription at the top reads like a scroll between two carved ribbons.

This granite marker didn’t start out so unloved. “Three thousand residents of Hunt’s Point [sic] attended the unveiling of a seven-ton granite memorial to World War dead from that part of the Bronx,” wrote the New York Times in a small writeup on May 23, 1938.

The afternoon ceremony went from 2:30 to 4:30, and it was preceded by a parade “of civic organizations, school children, Gold Star mothers and veterans and auxiliaries of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars,” continues the Times.

Buglers played taps, and a local official told the reporter that “the purchase of a bronze eagle three feet in height was being considered by the civic association to complete the monument.”

Eighty-five years after the unveiling, Crames Square no longer honors a Great War casualty because it no longer exists. This busy spot is now known as De Valle Square, after a Cuban-born priest who led the nearby Bronx parishes at St. Anselm’s and St. Athanasius in the 1970s and 1980s.

The granite monument itself hasn’t been erased, but there’s an empty circle which perhaps held the bronze eagle the civic leader at the parade mentioned to the New York Times reporter.